Madison’s developing South Side hub location to be announced in the coming weeks

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 6:31 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2021 at 8:22 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new site for an economic development hub dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses is getting closer to becoming a reality.

On Friday, Urban League of Greater Madison President and CEO Dr. Ruben Anthony, who is leading the project, said the exact location of the South Side hub along the South Park Street corridor will be announced in the coming weeks.

“As the economy bounces back we want minority-owned businesses to be part of the recovery,” Dr. Anthony said.

The concept of the project is modeled after the Sherman Phoenix project in Milwaukee, an entrepreneurial hub to support small businesses that houses a mix of retailers.

To help the up to 20 businesses one day calling the South Side hub home, the Urban League announced Thursday a revolving loan program. American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact invested $400,000 to launch it. This will include $150,000 for design of and to staff the program, and $250,000 to seed the loan fund, according to a release.

American Family Social Impact Investment Dir. Nyra Jordan said the loans will be made available to businesses at low interest rates to help entrepreneurs as they start or grow a business at the hub.

“I think one of the biggest ways these dollars will help is just from the standpoint that many of these businesses owners and under-served communities historically are not able to get access to traditional forms of capital,” she said.

Dr. Anthony said the loan project is just getting off the ground, with a goal to fund at least $1 million by the end of June.

“If you have an economic incubator, you also need to have some revenue to help these businesses get there,” he said.

The project is being done in partnership with several community stakeholders and will be funded by private and public dollars. In September, Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi announced $2 million in the 2021 budget will go toward getting the hub off the ground.

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